The Department of State is pleased to announce the publication of the 2008 Digest of United States Practice in International Law, covering developments during 2008. As Legal Adviser Harold Hongju Koh notes in the introduction, the volume “provides a historical record of developments occurring during the period when my predecessor, John B. Bellinger, III, served as Legal Adviser.” For the first time, this edition of the Digest is available both in print and on the State Department’s website (www.state.gov/s/l/c8183.htm). By making the Digest available electronically for the first time, the Department of State’s Office of the Legal Adviser hopes to make this valuable publication, and the historical record of U.S. practice of international law it presents, more readily accessible. To that end, electronic volumes of the Digest for the years 1999-2007 also are being made available at www.state.gov/s/l/c8183.htm.
The Digest traces its history back to an 1877 treatise by John Cadwalader, which was followed by multi-volume encyclopedias covering selected areas of international law. The Digest later came to be known to many as “Whiteman’s” after Marjorie Whiteman, the editor from 1963-1971. Beginning in 1973, the Office of the Legal Adviser published the Digest on an annual basis, changing its focus to documentation current to the year. Although publication was temporarily suspended after 1988, the office resumed publication in 2000 and has since produced volumes covering 1989 through 2008. A cumulative index covering 1989-2006 was published in 2007, and an updated edition of that index, covering 1989-2008 is forthcoming.